Who is to blame for this awful US election?Yesterday
Fox News? The four horsemen of the Republican apocalypse? The FBI? Whatever the outcome, historians will judge harshly those who did not stop Trump when they could
The US election might not aim tomorrow. Anyone who lived through the photo-finish of 2000, when it took until mid-December for a win to be declared and only then by a ruling of the supreme court will know that a presidential competition does not always make a chairwoman, at the least not right away. But one thing will certainly be over and that is the dizzying, sometimes nauseating, 18 -month-long saga that has been the 2016 campaign.
It is standard to describe a US presidential tournament as bitternes and divisive. In 2012, the Protector front-page tale branded the combat of Barack Obama v Mitt Romney one of the most closely opposed and polarised in recent history. Appearing back, that race looks like a veritable doctrine seminar, exemplary in its civility and decorum, compared with this one.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
No, Mr Trump, we’re not the same as the neo-Nazis | Emily Gorcenski2 days ago
In Charlottesville I faced off with men bearing torches and swastikas hollering Jews will not replace us. Yet the president guess both sides are to blame
The president of the United States called a mob of people marching with torches and chanting Nazi mottoes very fine people. Fine people dont chant Nazi slogans. Fine people dont surround and attack college student. And fine people dont stand with those who do.
I was there that night in Charlottesville. I can say with certainty that the only fine people I ensure were the young students who stood outnumbered and ready to defend their campus and their beliefs against an onslaught of demagoguery.
I know some of those students. They were ready to die for what they believed in. I was prepared to die, too. A man wearing a swastika pin shouted transphobic and racist vitriol at me, inches from my face.
The only fine people that night were those sprayed with mace and doused with lighter fluid from the torches that they were beaten with, afraid of being burned alive. Fine people dont wear swastikas. Yet President Trump blamed both sides, despite the fact that merely one side was run down by a terrorist.
I was there when the attack happened. Despite the president deeming me a transgender girl unfit for military service, I operated toward the attacker with a weapon. I was ready to engage him if he tried to hurt more people.
I reached out to groups attending this event from the left, right and center to advise nonviolence. Meanwhile, the unite the right marchers told things like well fucking kill them if we have to on camera.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Donald Trump Is The Florida Man Candidate2 days ago
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There are a lot of reasons why Donald Trump ought to be able to victory in Tuesday’s Florida primary, where the GOP presidential front-runner enjoys a commanding lead of more than 20 phases in the polls.
But there’s a very crucial one that shouldn’t be overlooked: Trump is Florida Man … well, the candidate for that type of voter, at the least.
Florida Man, if you weren’t already aware, is a descriptor and an avatar of the Sunshine State’s most outlandish residents. These include the Florida Man who insisted the ghost of WWE legend Macho Man Randy Savage haunted a local wrestling match; the one who subdued and then vowed to eat the shark that bit him; the guy who showed up hammered to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving banquet in his honor and the burglar who stashed a chainsaw in his pants — all chronicled in the @_FloridaMan Twitter account. This resonates, in part, because it exemplifies a very specific and weirdcare-free ethos that is unique to Florida. The state is home to an often bizarre mishmash of nouveau riche fanfare, sunburnt Southern swagger and a kind of meth-addled YOLO philosophy.
“Florida’s a weird nation, it’s very divide, ” told Sebastian Sultzer a student originally from Deerfield Beach in Palm Beach County. “Miami is very different from North Florida.”
Trump, in so far as we know, has never done any of these things, but consider his career in this context and you can begin to hear echoes of this character. Just switch his name for Florida Man and you’ll assure what we mean:
Florida Man purchases a private airplane and enjoys watching Jean Claude Van Damme’s “Bloodsport” while airborne.
Florida Man attempts to sell meat in a high-end electronics store.
Florida Man appears on “WWE Raw, “ and rains the audience with $100 bills.
An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago, the sprawling estate of Donald Trump, in Palm Beach, Florida. TheTrump National Doral Miamiattracts star golfers like Northern Ireland’s RoryMcIlroy to events like theWorld Golf Championship Cadillac Championship.
Women’s rights are on the retreat yet again. Why? | Barbara Ellen5 days ago
Donald Trumps ruling attaining it easier for companies to opt out of providing free family planning highlightings the need for vigilance
When modern females are ultimately fitted with their regulation compulsory chastity belts, dare one dream that they’ll come in a range of fairly colours, delightful the documentation and snazzy designs? Or would it simply be the old-school medieval iron trad models? Hey, little ladies, do you think we’d be allowed to choose?
I muse facetiously because, in the US, President Trump has issued a ruling that makes it far easier for companies and insurers to opt out of free birth control to employees on the grounds of religious and moral beliefs, rolling back a key feature of Obamacare. Now that it will become easier to opt out, many more will do so, with the health risks to affect 55 million females. The American Civil Liberties Union( ACLU) and the National Women’s Law Center have announced that they will sue the government over the decision.
Obamacare provisions also encompassed treatment for gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Now, many girls will be worried about being able to afford such therapies. However, these unfortunate girls probably just count as collateral injury. Apart from the huge amount of money that big business will save, the real target there are sexual autonomy, doubtless all sexual independence, but specifically the female kind that a certain mindset have all along wanted to control.
Contraception, though imperfect, was one of the chief liberators of women, taking much of the dread out of sex. Thus, this removal of free family planning could only be about putting the dread back into sexuality. At the least, putting an end to the corporate bankrolling of the more liberal, humanist, proactive and protective approaches to sex.
It should come as no surprise that among the reasons cited for the change were findings that access to contraception incited” risky sex behaviour “. Eh? One would have thought that reduced access to contraception was far riskier and that, for both sexualities, access to barrier contraception would be the least “risky” of all?
However, even believing like this is to participate in the delusion that this is about people enjoying themselves safely. Take away the figleaf of social responsibility and this becomes about stopping people being able to enjoy sexuality when they want, with whom they want, without anxiety of the results of unwanted pregnancy. And when I say ” people”, I mainly mean women.
Not that things are so peachy for reproductive rights back in Europe. Even as an Irish abortion reform referendum is under discussion for next year, a poll has revealed that only 24% of Irish people are in favour of legalising terminations in nearly all cases. Meanwhile, Prof Lesley Regan, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, has argued that parts of the 1967 Abortion Act are outdated and that females need faster, safer access to abortion, without the necessity of achieving the approval of two separate physicians- thus far to no avail. The lesson seems to be that it will never be over- there will always be laws that need to be updated and, where needed, protected. Where the Trump contraceptive ruling is concerned, it’s scary enough that it’s such a backward step- yet scarier that it has been so slyly done.
It’s an example of how a quite subtle shifting of legislative emphasis- simply making something easy( the opt-out) that had previously been difficult- could be enough to undermine, or even destroy, major sociopolitical progress, with far-reaching repercussions for women. The imminence of chastity belts or not, this appears to be an era when there’s a real need for women to stay alert- when hard-fought gains could be eroded in an instant with the quiet swish of a departmental pen.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange14 days ago
Why did Ukips ex-leader want to slip in unnoticed to satisfy the WikiLeaks chief at the Ecuadorian embassy?
On 9 March 2017, an ordinary Thursday morning, Ian Stubbings, a 35 -year-old Londoner, was walking down the street near its term of office in South Kensington when he spotted a familiar face. He turned and saw a human entering the redbrick terrace which houses the Ecuadorian embassy, where the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up since 2012. And the familiar face? It was Nigel Farage, the person who is spearheaded Britains exit from the European Union.
I thought hang in a moment, Stubbings says. That appears a little bit dodgy. I knew the building was the embassy because I often ensure camera crews outside. But there was no one else around. I was the only person whod seen him. And I didnt know what the significance was and I still dont actually but I thought: thats got to be worth telling and I was the only person whod witnessed it.
So, at 11.22 am, he tweeted it. His handle is @custardgannet and he wrote: Genuine scoop: merely saw Nigel Farage enter the Ecuadorian embassy. Moments later, a reporter from BuzzFeed, who happened to follow him on Twitter, picked it up and tweeted him back, and Stubbings told her: No press or cameras around.
No press or cameras around, that is, until BuzzFeed turned up just in time to catch Farage leaving, 40 minutes later. Nigel Farage Just Visited the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the headline said. Asked by BuzzFeed News if hed been visiting Julian Assange, the former Ukip leader said he could not remember what he had been doing in the building.
And that was how the world found out, by collision, that the founder of WikiLeaks, the organisation which published Hillary Clintons leaked emails a decisive advantage for Donald Trumps campaign and Farage, a friend of Donald Trump, were mutually acquainted.
In Britain, we routinely treat Farage as if he were Widow Twankey in “the member states national” pantomime that is Ukip politics. And Widow Twankey dropping by on the man who lives in the Ecuadorian embassy broom cupboard seemed just one more weird moment in the weird times in which we now live; six weeks on, it had faded into yet another episode in the surreality show that now passes for normality.
But in a week that find two major developments on either side of the Atlantic regarding the respective roles that Assange and Farage played in the US election and the EU referendum the same week in which a UK general election was announced it is an attitude that needs urgent re-examination.
For if you were to pick three the persons who have the most decisive impact on that most decisive of years, 2016, it would be hard to see beyond Trump, Assange and Farage. What was not known until Ian Stubbings decided to go for an early lunch is that there is a channel of communication between them.
Last week brought this more clearly into focus. Because in a shock developing last Thursday, the US justice department announced it had prepared charges with a view to arresting Assange. A day subsequently, the Electoral Commission announced it was investigating Leave.EU the Brexit campaign Farage headed.
Significantly, the commission said its investigation was focused on whether one or more gifts including of services accepted by Leave.EU was impermissible.
One of the grounds on which a gift can be deemed impermissible is that it comes from abroad. A fundamental principle of British democracy and our elections law is that foreign citizens and foreign companies cannot buy influence in British elections via campaign donations.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
How Mark Zuckerberg could stop Donald Trump17 days ago
TheFacebookfounder didn’t mention the2016Republican presidential front-runner by name during his keynote address at the annual F8conference on Tuesday, but there was no doubt that Zuckerberg wasusing his platform to hammer Trump’s rhetoric on policies ranging from immigration to foreign trade.
As I look around the world, Im starting to see people and nations turning inward, against the idea of a connected world and a global community, Zuckerberg said. I hear fearful voices calling for build walls and distancing people they label as others. I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases even for cutting access to the Internet.
Zuckerberg delivered his veiled public criticism of Trump merely weeks after, asGizmodo reported Friday, Facebook employees asked Zuckerberg, What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017?
Were Zuckerberg to decide that the social media giant has that responsibility, it raises a key question for the American people: Could Facebook actually prevent Trump from winning the White House?
The answer is almost certainly yesand there may be no way to stop it.
Zuckerberg vs. Trump
Trump and Zuckerberg have been butting heads from a distance since the real-estate heir launched his presidential campaign on an anti-immigrant platform last summer.
I hear fearful voices calling for house walls and distancing people they label as others .
Trump’s it is proposed to take an extremely hard line on China could trigger a trade war, which would undoubtedly hamper Facebook’sefforts to get the Chinese government to allow its citizens to use the social networking platform. In addition to Trump’s hostility to undocumented immigration, which has find him calling for the construction of awall on the U.S.-Mexico perimeter and praising a widely mocked mass expulsion endeavour from the 1950 s calledOperation Wetback, Trump has also been publicly hostile to certain forms of legal immigration that Zuckerberg wants to expand.
Both personally and through his nonprofit immigration reform group, Fwd.us, Zuckerberg has been a major proponent of the H1-B visa program, which lets U.S. companies to temporarily devote residency to highly skilled foreign workers who can fill specific needs for a business. The use of H1-B visas is popular among Silicon Valley tech firms looking for skilled workers at a moment when the market for certain types of engineering talent has truly become global, and maybe also catching a violate on labor costs.
Trump, however, charged that the program disadvantages American workers at the expense of their foreign competitors, and he proposed changing the program to make it more difficult for companies to bring in employees from overseas. In apolicy paper posted to Trump’s website last year, the candidate made a excavate directly at Zuckerberg, charging, Mark Zuckerbergs personal senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.
In response to Zuckerberg’s F8 comments, a Trump campaign spokesperson equated undocumented immigration to crime, telling CNBC, I’ll take Mark Zuckerberg severely when he devotes up all of his private securitymove out of his posh neighborhood and come live in a modest neighborhood near a border town. Then I’m sure his attitude would change.
While social media platforms like Facebook have beeninstrumental to Trump’s political success, there’s clearly no love lost between the candidate and the social networking wunderkind. Zuckerberg clearly assures a Trump presidency as dangerous for the future of the country. If Zuckerberg wanted to throw his full weight behind the #NeverTrump movement, he has a tool far more powerful in influencing the outcome of the election than his billions of dollars.
Zuckerberg has Facebook.
Tipping the scale
If Trump emerges from what’s shaping up to be anunprecedentedly chaotic Republican convention with the nomination, he’s already going to be facing a stiff headwindveteran political analyst Larry Sabato seesHillary Clinton crushing Trump by a margin of 156 electoral elections. But elections are unpredictable. If that gap closes, powerful platforms like Facebook have the ability to move the dial in the number of important ways.
Before get into the specifics, it’s crucial to point out that there’s no indication that Facebook has ever purposely targeted a candidate , nor do they have any stated intention to do so. Facebook’s power is largely in the network consequence gained from its ubiquity, how it’s used by a broad cross-section of the public. If people supposed the social network went out of its style to alter the course of an election, it would enrage the supporters of the candidate it moved against and likely incentivize them to use website less frequently or even abandon it wholly.
Voting is a core value of republic and we believe that promoting civic participation is an important contribution we are capable of make to the community. Were proud of our work on this, a Facebook spokesperson told the Daily Dot. While we encourage any and all candidates, groups, and voters to use our platform to engage on the elections, we as a company are neutral and have not utilized our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote.
As a platform, Facebook has an enormous ability to influence public perception in a manner that is subtle enough that it may be impossible to detect. Regardless of whether or not Facebook would actively discriminate against Trump or any other candidateand there’s a strong incentive for the company not to do soit’s abundantly clear that it could .
Facebook first systematically looked at its ability to influence voting behaviour on Election Day in 2010. As detailed in astudy published two years later, researchers at Facebook demonstrated some users a button at the top of their news feeds allowing them to tell their friends that I Voted and encouraging them to do their democratic duty if they hadn’t yet done so, while other users weren’t indicated the same message. The researchers compared the data to the actual voter rolls and detected the feature had a significant effect in boosting turnoutnot just for people who were indicated the button; there was a ripple effect among their friends as well.
Our results suggest that the Facebook social message increased turnout directly by about 60,000 voters and indirectly through social contagion by another 280,000 voters, for a total of 340,000 additional votes, the researchers wrote.
When compared to the 2010 electorate a whole, this number is not particularly large It represents about 0.14 percent of the 236 million Americas eligible to vote in that year’s midterm election. Still, presidential elections have been decided by slimmer marginsthe 2000 Bush v. Gore contest, for example. Additionally, the I Voted effect was the result of a single item being shown on a single day. How would it affect voting behavior if Facebook consistently altered what appeared in people’s news feeds over hour? Two years later, the company aimed to find out.
While we encourage any and all candidates, groups, and voters to use our platform to engage on the elections, we as a company are neutral .
In 2012, Facebook’s researchers wanted to determine if increased exposure to hard news about politics affected users’ inclination to election. They tweaked the news feeds of approximately two million users so that if any of their friends had shared a news story, that tale would be boosted to the top of their feed. These are narratives the targeted users had a probability of find anyway. If one of your Facebook friends likes or shares a piece of content commonly, there’s a chance it will end up in your feed. This experiment all but guaranteed that exposure for a certain type of content.
Facebook then polled those users and received 12,000 replies. The respondents reported an increased likelihood to follow politics and were more likely to report voting in the November election. Interestingly, the effects was more pronounced for infrequent Facebook users than “its all for” people who logged in every day like clockwork.
Facebook data scientist Lada Adamic detailed the 2012 experiment in a public presentation. But when Personal Democracy Media co-founder Micah Sifry contacted Facebook about such studies while doing research for a2014 article he published in Mother Jones , the clip was quickly taken down fromYouTube.
Sifry afterward uploaded a video of that video to YouTube 😛 TAGEND
First of all, Facebook has pretty much routinized the use of its voter megaphone tool and has been deploying it in countries around the world when there’s a democratic election. They’ve actually offered no additional transparency about how the tool works, Sifry told the Daily Dot , nodding to Facebook’s famously opaque algorithm. I consider it to be an ongoing problem that we basically have to trust the engineers at Facebook to use this thumb on the scale in a wholly neutral way.
Engineers, remember, who may very well feel that the company should place that finger.
Sifry remembers back in 2007, when PresidentBarack Obama, then a U.S. senator, was still in early stages of his hunt for the keys to the Oval Office. When Facebook launched Platform, a toolkit that allowed third-parties to develop applications for the site, the Obama team was the first political campaign to gain access. At the time, this moveraised questions about why Obama got early access while other campaigns, like those of Sen.John McCain( R-Ariz .) and or then-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, didn’t get the same early access. Should that exclusive access be viewed as an in-kind contribution from Facebook to the Obama campaign? Or was it merely one promising, young, tech-savvy organization offering the opportunity to beta test its product to another promising, young, tech-savvy organization?
The core of the questions is that, 12 years after its birth in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook has come to play a such a crucial role in how people around the world communicate, virtually everything it does threatens to have an effect on politics. Through its ubiquity, Facebook is often viewed as a utility akin the telephone company, rather than just another website adrift on an seemingly endless and indifferent Internet.
What they don’t know, they can’t govern
The power to theoretically choose the outcome of election isn’t limited to Facebook. Similar concerns have been raised about the power ofGoogleto swing results of the election. A 2015 analyze published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that manipulating the order connections appeared in the results page of a search engine could have adramatic impacton undecided voters’ perceptions of political candidates.
This problem naturally invites the question of whether regulation is needed to police how these web giants can affect elections. When contacted by the Daily Dot, representatives from the Federal Elections Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission all indicated this issue wasn’t covered under their specific jurisdictions.
Paul Ryan, deputy executive director at the election watchdog group the Campaign Legal Center, used to say if Facebook or Google were directly coordinating with a candidate to manipulate what their users find for the campaign’s benefit, then it would be considered an in-kind contribution, effectively a donation. However, that regulation only applies if there’s direct coordination.
If Facebook or Google or another Internet business were to manipulate their public interface for the benefit of a candidate, the company would be sailing in uncharted legal waters .
If its doing these things independently of nominees, and they stop short from expressly advocating a candidates election or defeat( e.g ., Google stops short of including a message like ‘Vote for Trump’ at the top of its listing search results for a term like ‘presidential election’ ), Ryan said, then federal campaign finance laws wouldnt apply.
At any rate, Im quite certain that the Federal Election Commission has never to reflect on any formal style( rule-making, advisory opinions, enforcement actions) how federal campaign finance laws would or would not is in relation to such activities, he continued. So if Facebook or Google or another Internet business were to manipulate their public interface for the benefit of a candidate, the company would be sail in uncharted legal waters.
Any attempt to regulate how online platforms affect voter turnout is extremely tricky. Due to the demographics of its user base in the United Stateswhich tends towardthe young, the female, and the urbaneven if Facebook equally boosted turnout across the board, it would advantage Democrats over Republican, because those groups have a tendency lean Democratic rather than Republican. Facebook promoting more people to vote is an unequivocal good, but even when the company applies civic pressure to the public uniformly, there’s likely be a partisan advantage. In that context, it’s impossible to impose regulation without proscribing the social network from making any moves to boost voter turnout.
Facebook publishing the results of its experiments is a rare occurrence, but the firmlike every other Internet company worth its saltis constantly operating experimentations, tweaks in the design of its platform to see how they affect user behavior. The Internet makes this so-called -AB testing relatively easy, and involving companies to check with government regulators before each exam, just to ensure its not boosting one side over the other, is unreasonably onerous.
Of course, enforcing any rules is dependent on determining that this sort of manipulation is even occurring in the first place. Large teams of people working in tandem across the country on Election Day might be able tell if only Democrat assure the I Voted button, but no one outside of Facebook’s administrators would be able to tell if Republican were slightly more likely than Democrats to find the type of hard news tales that would activate them to vote.
So, what if Facebook’s algorithms ascertained the type of news stories that increased civic participation also triggered more sharing, but merely for Democrats and not Republican? In that case, would even Facebook know what effect it was having on republic?
Maybe. But, then again, maybe not.
Photo via Gage Skidmore/ Flickr ( CC-BY-SA)
Trump in Moscow: what happened at Miss Universe in 201318 days ago
The pageant and the presidents attempts to get close to Putin have become a focus of the investigation into Trumps links to Russian interference in the US election
Sitting in a makeshift studio overlooking the Moscow river on a crisp day in November 2013, Donald Trump pouted, stared down the lens of a television camera and said something he would come to regret.
Asked by an interviewer whether he had a relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, the brash New York businessman could not resist boasting.” I do have a relationship with him ,” Trump said.
Russia’s strongman had” done a rather brilliant task “, Trump told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, before declaring that Putin had bested Barack Obama.” He’s done an amazing undertaking- he’s put himself actually at the forefront of the world as a leader in a short period of time .”
Trump, a teetotaler, seemed intoxicated by the buzz surrounding the glitzy event that had brought him back to Moscow: that year’s instalment of the Miss Universe contest that he then owned.
Four years later, he is struggling to shake off the hangover.
The 2013 pageant has become a focal point for the simultaneous investigations, led by special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees, into whether associates of Trump colluded with Russian officials to help them win the 2016 US presidential election.
Investigators are examining closely endeavours apparently made by the Russian government to pass Trump’s team damaging information on Hillary Clinton, using Trump’s politically connected Miss Universe business partners as couriers.
They are also looking into the $20 m fee that Trump collected for putting on the pageantry from those same business partners- along with extraordinary allegations about Trump’s private conduct behind closed doors at the Ritz-Carlton hotel during his 2013 stay in Moscow.
The Guardian has learned of additional, previously unreported, the linkages between Trump’s business partners on the pageantry and Russia’s government. The ties are likely to attract further scrutiny by researchers who are already biting at the heels of Trump associates.
A full accounting of Trump’s actions in the Russian capital as that autumn turned to winter may be critical to resolving a controversy that has already devoured the first eight months of his presidency.
” Our committee’s investigation will not be complete unless we fully understand who President Trump met with when he was over in Russia for Miss Universe, and what follow-up contacts resulted ,” Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in an interview.
Trump’s attorney, John Dowd, declined to answer when asked whether the president’s team accepts that the Miss Universe contest is a legitimate area of inquiry for investigators.” Fake news ,” Dowd said in an email.
Do alpha males even exist? | Dean Burnett25 days ago
Dean Burnett: Donald Trump has repeatedly been described as an alpha male, but theres no scientific proof that such a thing even exists in humans
We all know what an alpha male is. An alpha male is a man who takes charge, one who imposes his will on others , not the other way round. Other humen want to be him, girls want to be with him. An alpha male intimidates, hes unquestionably in charge , no matter what the situation. An alpha male is loud, brash, doesnt care what anybody else supposes. An alpha male says what he wants, does what he wants, wears what he wants, as long as those clothes are roomy enough in the trousers to accommodate his gargantuan gonads and dont dissolve in response to all the testosterone constantly leaking from his pores.
Thats members of the general notion, anyway. But the idea that human men can be alpha males is actually far from scientifically accepted. This may come as a surprise, dedicated how common and widespread the notion is. The latest example would be Donald Trump in his presidential debates. People have labelled him an alpha male, Nigel Farage even defended Trumps obscene commentaries about girls as alpha male boasting and compared him to a silverback gorilla, which for those very well known primate anatomy is actually quite an insult. So what, scientifically, is the case for alpha males among humans? As ever, its somewhat complicated.
WHAP! Ben Rhodes’ hypocrisy jab at ‘Tea Party patriots’ lands HARD on Team Obama instead25 days ago
The GOP tax bill has Democrats trying to whip up a panic while apparently hoping nobody remembers the eight years before Donald Trump took office:
Shocking that all those “tea party patriots” who were so allegedly outraged by deficits when the President was named Obama are not mobilizing to take home countries back
— Ben Rhodes (@ brhodes) December 1, 2017
Gee, where was that attitude from 2009 -2 016?
When the President was named Obama he spent like a drunken sailor, and now you find fiscal religion? Liberal hypocrisy. When merely the best hypocrisy will do.
— Blue State Snooze (@ BlueSnoozeBlue) December 1, 2017
$ 1 trillion over 10 YEARS as opposed to $10 trillion in 8 years racked up by ONE guy that did nothing to benefit ANY American and destroyed our healthcare at same time! Did you FLUNK math AND economics?
— Lady Liberty (@ LadyConserv) December 1, 2017
Your boss doubled the debt in 8 years. Your lack of self-awareness is beyond parody https :// t.co/ pAy7stk 2Mx
— Eddie (@ eddiecarl4 468) December 1, 2017if(( window.__aa_fraud_serve === undefined) ||( window.__aa_fraud_serve == true)) googletag.cmd.push( function() googletag.display( “div-gpt-3 00 x250_1” ); );
Neoliberalism: the deep narrative that lies beneath Donald Trump’s triumph | George Monbiot1 month, 1 day ago
How a ruthless network of super-rich ideologues killed choice and destroyed people faith in politics
The events that led to Donald Trumps election started in England in 1975. At a meeting a few months after Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party, one of her colleagues, or so the narrative runs, was explaining what he saw as the core beliefs of conservatism. She snapped open her handbag, pulled out a dog-eared book, and slammed it on the table. This is what we believe, she told. A political revolution that would sweep the world had begun.
The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek. Its publishing, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism. It considered competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of wins and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant taxation, regulation, trade union activities activity or country provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would percolate down to everyone.
This, at any rate, is how it was originally conceived. But by the time Hayek came to write The Constitution of Liberty, the network of lobbyists and thinkers he had founded was being lavishly shall be financed by multimillionaires who find the doctrine as an instrument of defending themselves against democracy. Not every aspect of the neoliberal program advanced their interests. Hayek, it seems, set out to close the gap.
He begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible notion of liberty: a lack of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands.
Democracy, by contrast, is not an ultimate or absolute value. In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exerting choice over the direction that politics and communities might take.
He justifies its own position by creating a heroic narrative of extreme wealth. He conflates the economic elite, expending their money in new ways, with philosophical and scientific innovators. Only as the political philosopher should be free to think the unthinkable, so the very rich should be free to do the undoable, without constraint by public interest or public opinion.
The ultra rich are scouts, experimenting with new styles of living, who blaze the trails that the rest of society will follow. The advance of society depends on the liberty of these independents to gain as much fund as they want and expend it how there is a desire to. All that is good and useful, hence, arises from inequality. There should be no connection between merit and reward , no distinction constructed between earned and unearned income, and no limit to the rents they can charge.
Inherited wealth is more socially useful than earned wealth: the idle rich, who dont have to work for their money, can devote themselves to influencing fields of thought and opinion, of tastes and notions. Even when they seem to be spending money on nothing but aimless showing, they are in fact acting as societies vanguard.
Hayek softened his opposition to monopolies and hardened his opposition to trade unions. He lambasted progressive taxation and tries by the country to create the general welfare of citizens. He insisted that there is an overwhelming suit against a free health service for all and rejected the conservation of natural resources. It should come as no surprise to those who follow such matters that he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics.
By the time Thatcher slammed his book on the table, a lively network of thinktanks, lobbyists and academics promoting Hayeks doctrines had been established on both sides of the Atlantic, abundantly financed by some of the worlds richest people and industries, including DuPont, General Electric, the Coors brewing company, Charles Koch, Richard Mellon Scaife, Lawrence Fertig, the William Volker Fund and the Earhart Foundation. Using psychology and linguistics to brilliant impact, the thinkers these people sponsored found the words and arguments required to turn Hayeks anthem to the elite into a plausible political programme.
Read more: www.theguardian.com